Gone are the days when the Dr. Martens’ aesthetic belonged only to the subversive, British youth of the 1980s. If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of 40-something-year-olds dads everywhere weeping over their The Clash shrines. Sorry skinheads, but the time has come for a shift in cultural sense. That’s right. Good ‘ole Dr. Martens combat boots are now a staple of the new prep.
This Fashionisto’s ensemble illustrates my point exactly. The striped T-shirt has a relaxed fit. The black watch adds practicality while the tan Levi’s are stripped of any color or excitement. His cuffed pants say “I care, but not too much.” Overall, this outfit falls in the Plain Jane category. It’s quite casual and (from the ankle up) borderline Gap ad. This Fashionisto’s outfit is simple and comfortable, while undoubtedly illustrating the future of casual fashion.
Now on to the shoes. Here his Dr. Martens are visually interesting because at first glance they seem out of place. It’s been normalized in this outfit. The tough look of a heavy boot that once meant aggression and political opinion is now a great pair with khakis, floral skirts and sweaters. It’s taken on an entirely new audience, thus a new aesthetic was born. Dr. Martens have crossed over to the light side. His style reflects a greater message here: grunge is the new normcore. So why is it that this touch of grunge works so well?
Simply because we are re-embracing the “Ghost of Culture’s Past.” For example, black is no longer reserved for goths. Black has transformed from unsettling to visually enticing. In addition, silhouettes have changed. Slouchy pants, fringe capes and T-shirts are more common in everyday wear than I ever thought possible. As a culture, we’re embracing the effortless look because informal is in.
This is how generations after us will remember our decade: some strange mix of vintage and minimalist. The Millennials are all about the blending of new and old. Polaroids. iPhones. Our taste exists in some strange, recycled middle ground. We have no awareness of how subtle this integration of casual, dark style has been. Maybe the fashion repercussions of teen angst are pouring into mainstream culture.
How To: Don’t be afraid to challenge the conventions of fashion. Nobody ever realized how great Dr. Martens looked with cuffed pants until they tried it. Adding a tough boot to your closet may be the kick in the butt your wardrobe needs. Take risks. Wear boots and skirts together. Wear white after Labor Day. Ignore the fashion “rules”.